Before you imagine I came to my weed eating, forraging ways in one insane, Birkenstock wearing hippie moment, let me explain a few things:
I’m down 30 pounds since October 2011. I’ve taken the weight off and kept it off. That’s good, right? And most of it is due to a single revelation that no matter what confusing new diet fad comes along they all agree on at least one thing: green vegetables are good for you. Simple. Elegant. They’re low calorie, high in various nutritional whatsits, and best of all, they take up a lot of space in your stomach. So if you eat a lot of them you’ll be full without the high calorie intake. And you’ll feel full for hours.
So I started eating veggies in the morning instead of bread. Huge piles of them. And to keep costs down, I went in for the cheap veggies. Like cabbage. A couple days worth of cabbage can be had for as little as $1.50. On sale they can be had for as little as 50 cents. So one of my favorite breakfasts is a huge mound of shredded, fried cabbage fried in butter until it’s all carmelized and browned and I put two fried eggs over it. Huge mound of food, about 280 calories. Not bad.
The fried in butter part is the important thing….
Everything tastes fine fried in butter.
So anyway, I also keep a garden to support this whole vegetable thing, and I’ve spent hours of my life pulling up weeds. It’s a losing battle, pulling up weeds. By the end of the summer the weeds get big and start mocking me and in the withering heat, I just give up knowing that for every weed I pull there are three new ones laughing at me.
Then one day, my mother was over, looking at my garden. I leaned over and casually yanked up a weed and my mother said “Oh! Don’t pull that one up, you can eat that one!”
“What?” I pulled a leaf off and ate it. It tasted crisp and refreshing. Like a little tiny ice berg lettuce. It was a weed called lambsquarters or Chenopodium album.
The thing grows like crazy in my garden. I can’t keep it down. And it’s DELICIOUS.
All this time I’ve been pulling up one edible, and refreshing green while crying to myself about how I can’t seem to grow lettuce worth a damn.
So I went online to find other edible garden weeds and found that most of the weeds I’ve been pulling from my garden are actually pretty darn good. And they’re free! And they grow, like…well…like weeds. I don’t even have to DO anything or go anywhere. Just forage around in your own yard or maybe a park or empty lot for nutritious, edible plants. Tell people you’re looking for loose change, they won’t care.
So now, in the morning I go into the yard, yank up some weeds, grab a few leaves off the turnips and broccoli plants, slice it up and fry it in butter. Put a little hot sauce on it, some fried eggs. And it’s delicious.
Here are the weeds I’m eating this morning:
And here’s a full view of all the veggies I’ll be eating this morning:
If you want to know more, visit livingafield.org – the guy has a ton of free information about edible Michigan weeds, with great pictures and detail about edible parts and even medicinal uses for the plants.